12 February 2019

Rwanda: Govt to Unveil Halfway Homes for Inmates

Plans to build halfway homes are underway so as to help inmates who are about to complete their sentences and those who may get conditional release reintegrate in their respective families, the Minister for Justice and Attorney General, Johnstone Busingye, has said.

He made the disclosure in Musanze District last week while officiating at the launch of a three-year project that seeks to economically empower women and juvenile prisoners during the pre- and post-release process.

The minister defined halfway homes as transitional places which will be hosting inmates who need to be prepared for reintegration.

Explaining how the idea to introduce the homes came into existence, Busingye said the Government heard of inmates who fail to cope in community after release, which at the end of the day brings about wrangles in families.

"We have a problem of people going back home suddenly from jail and when they get home it becomes another nightmare; reintegration becomes difficult, getting used to the home, knowing what the children are doing, knowing what happened to the spouse while they were away and so on," he said.

However, Busingye pointed out that an inmate can join a halfway home a year before reintegrating in the family and will be able to follow some courses on social cohesion as well as on family reintegration.

"We will be allowing inmates to interact with their families as much as they can, probably go home over the week end, bring themselves back all the way until the year ends and we allow them into the family," he noted.

Asked when this move will officially begin, Busingye could not tell the exact time as Rwanda Correctional Services (RCS) was still assessing its applicability.

"RCS has been clearly instructed to work on realising this, to start small, to start in whichever form they can, our resources are limited and we prioritise, it may not be an immediate priority right now but we have it in our sights, we have it in our thinking," the minister noted

Speaking to The New Times, RCS spokesperson Hillary Sengabo said the study to unveil halfway homes was underway promising that the homes will be operational in the near future.

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